Jesus has a special place in His heart for children, and, as Christians, we are called to follow in His footsteps and try to raise our children with the knowledge of God and His son. Jesus showed us to lead by example and use kindness and understanding to teach children and remind them of God’s ways. This requires that we have patience, a close relationship with God, and a personal commitment to His ways.
Learning prayers, parables, and Bible verses are all part of early Christian education. There are also ways that we as parents can introduce godly principles with the goal of helping these to take up permanent residence in our child’s mind and heart. Bible study requires a fair bit of concentration and focus, and while children may enthusiastically participate, young children seem to learn more readily and joyfully through free play; that is, play that is unstructured, without too many rules1 or expectations.
How do we bring God and godly principles into our children’s free play? Here are some ideas that may work for your family. Once you see how easy it is to introduce your children to the truth presented in the Bible, you’ll be able to come up with many more ideas.
- Let your children write, direct, and star in a biblical play. One idea might be the parable of the loaves and fishes. Or how about Moses’ flight from Egypt? Be sure to include a dress-up element.
- On an outdoor trek, have a family discussion on how the plants, animals, and minerals you see are part of God’s marvelous creation.
- For a biblical puppet show, choose puppets that are intentionally ambiguous, without obvious facial expressions. This enables children to perform an infinite number of plays using the same few puppets. You’ll be amazed at how their creativity is enhanced and their imagination activated when their play isn’t limited by obvious and explicit characters or toys.
- Don’t mind the mess! Children thrive in outdoor play, and even the sand and mud can provide an introduction to the beauty of God’s creation. What’s more, sensory play nurtures their development.
I believe children will quickly and gladly learn the lessons of the Bible through active free play. By making their faith a joy rather than a chore, we play a part in bringing our children to the knowledge and love of Christ.